Homegrown reggae outfit, The Never Ending Jupetters, have released a new album, Rise Again.
The band says the album will give it its first test in the era of digital revolution that has completely overhauled the old system of music marketing and distribution.
The band members say unlike in their two previous albums, this time round there is no chance to generate revenue through the sale of the copies of their album.
Formerly The Jupetters Band, which is an abbreviation for Junior People Trying to Emphasise Reggae, Rasta, Religious Sound, is now set to approach its album launch and distribution in a different manner. The band was formed in 1983 in Ndirande Township in Blantyre.
The two surviving original members out of its six pioneering cast—John ‘Nizye’ Namalima and Chikonda Nyirenda—told On The Arts that having studied the music industry, they have realised that the only way for a band to survive is to be on the road and continuously perform.
Said Nyirenda: “Of course, we are aware of the digital piracy too and this makes things worse, considering that we have a music industry in Malawi that has no market.
“We hope with the live performances, we will be able to gain more airplay that will be significant in generating revenue for the band as we will also be attempting to recoup resources invested in recording this album.”
He said that the album is special because for the first time they have used their own studio and that they have bought production rights.
Nyirenda said with most of their rural-based fans not conversant with digital technology, the best way to reach out to them will be through live performances and the radio.
He lamented the emergence of Covid-19 which he said has completely destabilised their plans.
“We will be moving with the corona tide. The higher it rises then downturn we will tune our performances and only to increase our performances when the numbers go down as is the case at the moment,” Nyirenda said.
On his part, Nizye said that they took forever before releasing the album because they faced a technical glitch after recording over 50 tracks for many years.
“The computer just crashed and after trying all means to recover it proved futile, we just had to start all over again and now we have recorded over 40 tracks, but we are releasing 11 for the new album,” he said.
Nizye said the reason they have titled the latest album Rise Again is to respond to those that thought Jupiters band was dead. He also added that “the rising again is to demonstrate that even in the face of the digital piracy challenges, we are still going to survive”.
He, however, said the album has tracks such as Alesi composed by original member the late Aston Nathu, Makolo composed by the late Bunny Phiri while the rest of the tracks, including Nthawi, Zidzafanso, We Love Jah and Give Thanks werecomposed by Nyirenda. Shine, Rise Again and the bonus track Mwambo were composed by Phiri and Nyirenda.
The Jupetters studio called I Man Well Digits Studios did all the production with the sound engineer J.J. Munthali as the main producer. All the backing vocals in the tracks were done by Sarah Jennah Chiodzeka of the defunct Jennah Sisters who performed with Ben Michael Mankhamba.
A quick listen of the songs on the album reveals the message of love and perseverance which has also maintained the roots reggae style of the Jupiters.
The band has also separately released a track on Covid-19 as their contribution towards the fight against the pandemic.